Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Tender Tennessee Christmas

Yesterday, I came down with a case of displaced homesickness. Displaced because I'm homesick for Buford's home in Tennessee. Have I lost my mind? Because the only way to get there is 23+ hours in the van...with the children...across Kansas...with NO Starbucks until St. Louis! (Dear people of Kansas: There has been a marvelous invention! It is called espresso. You can mix it with some foamed milk and a dash of flavoring and serve it in a cute red cup with a festive green sleeve. It is amazing stuff and it would make weary travelers much happier to be in your state!)
At any rate - I'm not missing THAT part but I am missing the being there. Buford's sister, Lulabel, would welcome us to her house and show us all of her 15 Christmas trees. Lulabel's husband JT, Jr., would hug me and say, "How's my favorite sister-in-law?" Never mind that I'm his only sister-in-law, I like being his favorite. Lulabel would have some of her yummy peanut butter balls stashed in the fridge...just right for sneaking one and popping it in your mouth.
We would take the kids to see Nina and Grandaddy at their pharmacy and she would squeal and tell the kids how grown up they are. Then it would be off to lunch at The Bean Barn. There is absolutely no place like it on earth, it is a Southern anomaly. The children would eat their cheeseburgers like they were the only cheeseburgers on the planet. And I would slurp up a large sweet tea and a bowl of beef stew. Buford, of course, would get his "heart attack on a bun", a Hobart, which is a cheeseburger with a slice of fried ham.
While we were there we'd sit on Lulabel's back porch, drink coffee, and tell the same old stories. I'd cook fajitas with all the fixins for JT, Jr. And we'd take the kids to Pigeon Forge to shop and see all the Christmas lights. Then, maybe to Gatlinburg where Buford and I got married. We'd eat pulled pork at Stan's (with more sweet tea). We'd visit with old friends and just slip into the slow pace that is the South.

So, all ya'll in TN - we miss you. And isn't it cool that this song is about Colorado and Tennessee...just like us!

Tender Tennessee Christmas by Alabama
Come on weather man give us a forecast snowy white
Can't you hear the prayers of every childlike heart tonight
Rockies are callin', Denver snow fallin'
Somebody said it's four feet deep, but it doesn't matter
Give me the laughter, I'm gonna choose to keep

Another tender Tennessee Christmas, the only Chirstmas for me
Where the love circles around us like the gifts around our tree
Well I know there's more snow up in Colorado than my roof will ever see
But a tender Tennessee Christmas is the only Christmas for me

Every now and then I get a wanderin' urge to see
Maybe California, maybe Tinsel Town's for me
There's a parade there, we'd have it made there
Bring home a tan for New Year's Eve
Sure sounds exciting, awfully inviting, still I think I'm gonna keep

Another tender Tennessee Christmas, the only Christmas for me
Where the love circles around us like the gifts around our tree
Well they say in L.A. it's a warm holiday, it's the only place to be
A tender Tennessee Christmas, is the only Christmas for me

Well I know there's more snow up in Colorado than my roof will ever see
But a tender Tennessee Christmas is the only Christmas for me
A tender Tennessee Christmas is the only Christmas for me

Monday, December 17, 2007

Learning to Fight

A few nights ago, Buford and I caught part of the movie, "The Kingdom of Heaven" with Orlando Bloom. I was working on a sewing project so I was doing more listening than watching, but I caught one scene that has just stuck with me and caused me to, well...ponder. It was a hand to hand combat scene focused on Orlando's character. He had a sword and a large round shield and was felling the enemy right and left. At one point he took the shield and blasted this guy across the head with it and then turned and thrust his sword into someone behind him.

Push the pause button...the shield as a weapon???

Ephesians 6:10-18 talks about the armor of God and every teaching I've heard says that the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, is our only OFFENSIVE weapon. But wait, could our shield of faith be used as a weapon as well? The verse says the shield is to extinguish the fiery darts or arrows of the evil one but this is what I always pictured: Me (or the Christian) cowered down behind the shield while fiery darts were being furiously shot at me from the enemy. When you are cowering, you are not advancing. You might be protected from those fiery darts, but the enemy is still on your territory firing them. Paul talks about "standing" in this passage, but I think some of us need to advance and take some territory that the enemy has claimed. What if we stood up and took it back?? What a concept! Shield in front, sword in hand, take a step comes a fiery dart (what is your dart? fear, worry, the lie that you will never change?) - raise your shield, extinguish the dart by saying No! Strike with your sword - the Word, "God has not given me a spirit of fear...,"or "I can do all things through Him who gives me strength." Know the Word - know your weapon - whatever the Word says about your situation - you tell that to the enemy. That's how you wield your sword. THEN, (see we always stop there - but here is where I think we can use our shield offensively) THEN, whack the enemy with your shield of faith in a follow-up blow to the sword and say, "And I believe it!"
So let's pull it all together: Put on your armor, stand up in Christ, begin to walk forward to posess your land that the enemy is standing on. He fires a dart, "You know, you are never going to change. You are always going to fall back into the same old habit. You're probably not even really saved." Raise your shield and extinguish the dart by believing that the enemy is a liar and what the Word says about you is true. (Don't catch the dart and study on it for awhile - giving consideration to its possible truthfulness - PUT IT OUT!) Then wield your Sword, "The Word says that I am a new man in Christ...that He has put my sins away as far as the east is from the west...that He has begun a good work in me and He will be faithful to complete it..." Then follow up with a whack from your shield, "AND I BELIEVE IT". Take another step forward...

Ephesians 6 - The Armor of God
10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Sermon at the WalMart

Today the kiddos and I made a quick run into WalMart to get some cat chow and a gift card. Outside the front door was a Salvation Army bell ringer. This gentleman was in a wheelchair (he only had one leg) and was wrapped up in blankets, gloves, and a stocking cap. He was missing many of his teeth. In his lap was a small "boom box" and as we walked closer I could hear that he was singing. I assumed it was a Christmas song but soon realized he was belting out "Awesome God" by Rich Mullins. The gentleman didn't have a bad voice, inspite of his toothlessness, and he sang with such conviction. When we walked out through the same door, he was singing "He is Exalted". The kids put some money in his bucket and we got in the van. An immediate reality check came from the Holy Spirit...I'd been worrying about work deadlines and Christmas shopping and if my new haircut has enough "angle" and here he was in a wheelchair, in the freezing winter air, belting out praises to the Lord. Not ashamed, not fettered with concern or bitterness, just enjoying pure unadulterated worship in front of the WalMart. Whoa - or more like Woe! Woe is me for being a run of the mill, overextended, burnt out Christian who is half-ashamed to worship in church let alone out in public. Lord, I confess that I don't want to lose a leg or all my teeth, heck I don't even want to have a hair out of place. But I do want what he has: joy; peace; boldness; and whatever it takes Lord, whatever it takes.

Matthew 5:1-12
Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them saying:
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Elvis is in The House

Med and Elvis...a match made in heaven. Med loves cats. Buford and I love cats. If the health department wouldn't become involved I'd have 50 of them...well, maybe not 50...think of the litter ramifications. Med brought Elvis home from a birthday party. Saved him from certain demise. He was a scrawny little wormy thing but now is healthy and happy. Our backyard neighbor thought of the name Elvis - we were going to call him Socks. That wasn't cool or manly enough for a boy kitty, so Chris suggested Elvis and it just stuck. I took this photo after we'd been to Nebraska for a weekend to visit Jo at college. He was so happy that Med was back - he just couldn't get close enough or purr loud enough!

Cowboy to the Max

These photos of Max were taken last summer (2006) at the Wrangler Junior High National Finals in Gallup, NM. I went and I slept in the back of my van, fed horses in my pajamas (tucked into boots), and took 2 showers the entire week. I was a dedicated rodeo mom. Let's just say I wasn't above wearing fake hair or the standard rodeo mom "do" - ponytail, visor and sunglasses. It was great fun and Max ended up fourth in the World in goat tying. Yee Haw!

Look ya'll, some pictures...

Hallelujah, I think I might get this figured out after all. Here is a montage of photos from Min's soccer adventure this fall. Soccer is a very interesting game for 6 and 7 year olds - much socializing and goofing around including the challenge of what body part you can get stuck in the net when it is your turn to play goalie. LOL!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Ode to a Dormant Blog

Holy Cats. I can't believe how long it has been since I've posted! I've been busy, busy, busy! What with Thanksgiving and sewing and then sewing some more. I look around my neighborhood and I wonder, "Don't you people have anything better to do than to string massive quantities of lights and put no less than 3 giant blow-up Christmas thingys in your front yards?" I'm not bah-humbugging cuz Grace prayed and got me delivered from that. And now that Thanksgiving is over, by all means deck the halls...but what is it with the giant blow-up Santas and snowmen and Poohs?? I believe that Christmas brings out the inner redneck in everyone! Just please, please throw away your pumpkins BEFORE you string those lights...please. Okay, enough about that. So here are some of the latest happenings at our house:

Some funny stuff I've heard...
Med and Min have been on a roll lately - out of the mouths of babes...

Min: "If I swallowed a caterpillar, in a couple of weeks, would I fart out a butterfly?"

Med (upon hearing Min say that when he was an adult he was going to get a PlayStation and play it all day long - because his mean parents won't let him have one) said with a sigh: "Oh, Min - you'll grow up to be a proper adult."

And the cutest joke I've heard in awhile told by Med: A pit bull, a retriever and a chihuahua wanted to go on a date with a cute French Poodle. The French Poodle said that whoever could use the words "liver and cheese" in the most creative way would win a date with her. The pit bull tried first, "I like liver and cheese" he said. "Nope, not going to work," said the poodle. The retriever went next, "I don't like liver and cheese". "Nope, that's not going to do it either." said the poodle. Finally, the chihuahua said, "Leever alone - Cheez mine!"

A funny thing that happened...
Last Wednesday morning, I had filled the bathtub for Min and our kitten, Elvis, was curious and perched himself on the edge of the tub. I heard a loud splash and thought that Min had fallen while getting in the bath - I ran to see what had happened and found a very wet kitty dripping on the carpet and frantically trying to lick himself dry. Med said, "Wow, you never realize how skinny cats are until they get wet!" Elvis might have used up one of his nine lives because the water was fairly deep. You know what they say about curiosity!

An awesome thing I just read...
Our church is reading Max Lucado's new book 3:16 in conjunction with our pastor's sermon series on John 3:16 during Advent. I love it when an author can put things in terms we can "get". Not high and lofty thinking but more where the rubber meets the road living. In this quote he is talking about the word perish as in "whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life."
This is what Max writes: "And perish...a sobering word. We'd like to dilute, if not delete, the term. Not Jesus. He pounds DO NOT ENTER signs on every square inch of Satan's gate and tells those hell-bent on entering to do so over his dead body."
What a picture! That just makes me want to shout! Can't you just picture Jesus with hammer and nails and a whole stack of signs. He was a carpenter - he hit those nails dead on, one blow of the hammer right after another, while Satan stood by screaming - furious as Christ defaced the very gates of hell. Can I get a Hallelujah??!!

Well, that is all for now, oh dormant blog. I need to go do some ironing because, apparently, the lady who does the ironing at our house has decided to take a vacation and my basket runneth over.